Towards a stronger bi-cameral governance system

Bill Flanagan - 11 February 2021

Last week, I shared a high-level timeline on University of Alberta for Tomorrow activities and milestones over the next six months. During this period, the university community will be transitioning administrative functions in Finance, HR, and IT to centres of expertise, student and staff service centres, and the transaction hub, while also planning for transitions in research administration and external engagement over the summer. In addition to these changes through SET, the university will be preparing for the implementation of the new colleges, under the leadership of Greta Cummings (College of Health Sciences), Joe Doucet (College of Social Sciences and Humanities), and Matina Kalcounis-Rueppel (College of Natural and Applied Sciences).

This is an ambitious plan with the goal to sustain high levels of service while significantly reducing costs. The work that we need to do together over the next many months will be challenging. However, I do not doubt that this plan will position the university for success. We can renew and transform our leadership in higher education and research and drive ever-greater social and economic growth, innovation and creativity for the public good of the province and beyond.

At General Faculties Council on Monday, members had an engaged discussion about collegial governance and the respective responsibilities of the Board and GFC in a bi-cameral governance structure. Effective governance is vital to the well-being of our university, especially so now in this period of change when we face multiple challenges. Increased understanding and communication as we move forward will be essential. On Monday, in a Committee of the Whole, GFC proposed concrete actions to strengthen our governance system. In late March, GFC, BOG, and Senate will come together for their annual joint summit. I will also be speaking with Board Chair Kate Chisholm about further opportunities to improve communication and the exchange of ideas between GFC and the Board. One of my primary responsibilities as president is to build a productive working relationship with the Board of Governors and GFC. I will continue to work closely with all members to meet and advance this responsibility.

Bill Flanagan
President and Vice-Chancellor